The Chicest Formal Dress Shops in Sydney

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No two words stand out more on an invitation than Dress Code. Dressing according to said code is serious business in the world of socialising, particularly when it comes to attending a formal occasion. So whether you've been invited to a swanky cocktail party, an elegant wedding, or you're helping your teenager navigate the high style stakes of their high school formal, finding the right formal dress shop in Sydney takes some serious planning. 

Luckily, our classy city is full of formal dress shops geared toward making you look and feel your most glamorous. Some of these boutiques offer formal dress shopping online, formal dress hire, or, you can go the old-fashioned route and pop in to try before you buy. 

The Chicest Formal Dress Shops in Sydney

1. White Runway

White Runway
White Runway in Marrickville.

It's super easy navigating where to buy formal dresses in Sydney at White Runway. For starters, they have a gorgeous showroom in Marrickville so you can peruse their collection of formal dresses, cocktail dresses, maxi dresses, black tie dresses, plus-size dresses and more.

Quality is guaranteed at White Runway as all of their dresses are hand-picked from exquisite designers including Elle Zeitoune, Mossman, Romance The Label, Samantha Rose and plenty more. Their prices are very reasonable too!

Appointments are essential so book in advance.

Location: Corner of 326 Tuohy Lane and Petersham Rd, Marrickville

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2. Ixiah

The best formal dress shops in Sydney
Dresses by Ixiah. 

If you've got romance on your mind and are looking for dresses with pretty frills, lace, and eye-catching adornments, allow us to introduce you to the stunning Ixiah label. 

Sydney native Krystel Davis is the driving force behind Ixiah, whose dresses have become so popular they've even appeared on an international runway or two. Perfect for an early evening soiree or summer event, Ixiah is the place to shop for colourful, bohemian dresses that are sure to turn a few heads. 

If you're ordering online, Ixiah offer complimentary shipping on orders over $100.

Location: 80 Oxford St, Paddington

3. Coco & Lola

The best formal dress shops in Sydney
The chic interiors at Coco & Lola.

Elegant, elegant, and more elegant is how we describe the exquisite dresses at Coco & Lola.

We highly recommend stopping in at one of the Coco & Lola boutiques if you have a designer in mind that's only available online, but you just have to try before you buy. From Acler to Bec + Bridge, Viktoria & Woods, Shona Joy, and plenty more, Coco & Lola's collection of designers is one of the largest we've seen in Sydney!

With two locations to choose from and a very agreeable returns policy, we think we've found your new favourite formal dress shop in Sydney.

Double Bay - 35 Bay St, Double Bay
Manly - Shop 2, 13 Whistler St, Manly

4. Hansen & Gretel

Hansen & Gretel
Hansen & Gretel

Another one of our favourite formal dress shops in Sydney, Hansen & Gretel design all of their dresses right here in Australia and are described as "sharp, uncomplicated, and cut to compliment the female form" - tick!

With two store locations in Sydney to choose from and a fabulous collection of trending designs and colours, you're sure to find the perfect outfit for an elegant day or night out.

Brookvale - Westfield Warringah Mall, Shop 1250/145 Condamine St, Brookvale
Paddington - 212 Oxford St, Paddington

5. David Jones

David Jones
David Jones

If you've got multiple designers you'd like to try on all under one roof, you can't go wrong at David Jones.

Our Grand Dame of the fashion world, David Jones stocks a huge collection of formal dresses in all shapes, sizes, colours, and price points. From cheap formal dresses under $50 to high-end designers like Carla Zampatti, Aje, Alexander McQueen, Zimmermann and plenty more, they've got styles to suit all tastes.

If you're a novice in the world of formal dress shopping, David Jones offer in-store styling services so you can leave it up to the experts to find you the right dress. Bookings are essential. 

Locations: Multiple across Sydney - visit the website to find a David Jones near you.

6. Zsa Zsa Boutique

Zsa Zsa Boutique
Zsa Zsa Boutique

When you've been in the designer dresses game for over 35 years, it's safe to say you know how to dress Sydney well!

Zsa Zsa Boutique in Ramsgate make shopping for formal dresses in Sydney oh so simple with their long opening hours and wide selection of dress types.

From super glitzy evening gowns with hand-sewn beads, sequins and the whole lot, to colourful cocktail dresses to dance the night away, Zsa Zsa Boutique has all occasions, tastes, dress lengths, and colour preferences covered. 

Location: Shop1/199 Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate

7. Elle Zeitoune

The best formal dress shops in Sydney
Evening gowns by Elle Zeitoune.

You know when you need a dress that's glamorous but not too glamorous... Glitzy but not too glitzy... showy but not too showy... well, we've done a bit of a Goldilocks and found a formal dress shop in Sydney that's just right.

Capturing the essence of feminity, Elle Zeitoune have been dressing gals in glamorous gowns since 2010 and continue to stock eye-catching dresses that keep up with the changing trends.  

If you're looking to squeeze your purse strings for your next event, we highly recommend checking out the Elle Zeitoune outlet where you can score designer dresses for under $100!

Location: 5/24 Burrows Rd, St Peters

Formal Dress Hire in Sydney

Formal dress hire in Sydney
All the Dresses formal dress hire in Sydney.

Unfortunately, looking your absolute best for a formal occasion doesn't come cheap. There's the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the clutch bag, the jewellery... and the list just goes on and on. Luckily, there's a glorious invention we know you already know about: formal dress hire!

Formal dress hire in Sydney is a booming business, with plenty of boutiques offering up gorgeous designer dresses for a fraction of the cost as long as you return them by the due date - brilliant!

This nifty invention is particularly appealing to parents with teens who just have to have the most expensive designer dress for their formal, no ifs ands or butts. Let us save you a few hundred (or thousand!) dollars with these fabulous spots for formal dress hire in Sydney.

1. All the Dresses

All the Dresses stock beautiful Australian designer dresses for hire including Alice McCall, Aje, Bec + Bridge, Winona, Zimmermann and more. Fancy matching a designer bag to your designer dress? All the Dresses also stock some pretty impressive accessories - Chanel, anyone? 

2. Glam Corner 

Sometimes less is more when looking at dresses! Glam Corner have around 200 formal dresses for hire in Sydney, which helps to cut down on your browsing time exponentially - love! We also love how they break down their dresses into every occasion imaginable, including birthday dresses, race day, date night, work function, galas and more.

3. Your Closet

Save big bucks on your next party dress with Your Closet. Black tie, cocktail, race day, wedding and more occasions are covered by Your Closet's arsenal of gorgeous gowns at a fraction of the cost. They also stock equally as impressive shoes, bags, fascinators, jewellery and other accessories to complete your outfit

4. The Volte

The Volte is run by four friends who want all women in Australia to look and feel a million dollars without having to actually spend a million dollars - we're in!

We couldn't have picked a better name for this collection ourselves, as The Volte has one of the biggest collections of formal dresses for hire in Sydney, and just wait until you see the names. Chanel, Badgley Mischka, Coach, Balenciaga, Furla, Dior, Gucci - all the top designers are there and then some, so get ready to feel like a million dollars.

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Nikki F

Sep 23 2023

I love the Australian formal dress designer Mila Label. I bought a dress of theirs from House of Troy in Sydney.


Feb 28 2023

Don't forget House of Troy! Its my favourite place in Sydney to shop for formal gowns.